Elite League preview: Lord respectful of Giants’ threat

Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils visit Belfast on Saturday aiming to record another victory over the Giants.

The Devils have won both meetings so far this season, but with last Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Fife Flyers still fresh in his mind, Player/Coach Andrew Lord is taking nothing for granted.

“They have a very good team, speed throughout their line-up, some very high-end defensive men and all their men can really shoot the puck,” said Lord.

“They also get to the net really well and have two capable goaltenders, so it makes for a tough test.

“Both teams are built pretty similarly too, so that makes it fun even from the player/coaching perspective. It’ll be a tough one – we’ll definitely need a much better start than we had at Fife.”

Nottingham Panthers head into games against Coventry Blaze and Sheffield Steelers this weekend hoping to end a five game losing run in the Elite League.

Forward David Clarke admitted it was a frustrating time, but believes the team will bounce back to form.

“You go through periods like at the start of the season when you are winning everything – sometimes you’re winning games but you haven’t had the lions’ share of possession, and other times you play well and don’t quite come away with what you want,” said Clarke.

“It’s a case at the moment of resetting and getting back to the basics which is always an easy thing to do – to reset the minds and start rebuilding again.

“We haven’t played to our potential the last few weeks, especially with the way we started – you know you can get to that level.

“That’s something which when you’re not hitting that standard, you have to be hard on yourself and we’ve been hard on ourselves.

“The last few days we’ve been working hard to rectify things and hopefully we will see a change back to how we used to play.”

Dundee Stars travel to Manchester on Friday buoyed by last weekend’s impressive success against the Steelers.

The Stars’ 4-0 win was just their third league victory of the season and Head Coach Marc LeFebvre thinks his team have laid down a marker for the rest of the campaign.

“The players have proved to themselves they can play with anybody – if they commit to team defense, play the right way and do their own jobs we can beat anybody,” he said.

“Now we go into Friday – it’s a big Conference game. Manchester have been playing well at home, but if we play the way we did last weekend we should come out on top.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Belfast Giants v Fife Flyers
Manchester Storm v Dundee Stars
Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze (Cup)

Saturday

Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils
Fife Flyers v Edinburgh Capitals
Manchester Storm v Braehead Clan
Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Manchester Storm (Cup)
Coventry Blaze v Braehead Clan
Dundee Stars v Sheffield Steelers
Edinburgh Capitals v Belfast Giants (Cup)

(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)

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